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Examiner
  • Woods Chapel Road congestion - and progress - continue

  • Residents of on the west side of Blue Springs are well aware of the traffic congestion along Woods Chapel Road as the project to revamp the thoroughfare continues. However, that congestion might be wrapped up sooner than many expect.

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  • Residents of on the west side of Blue Springs are well aware of the traffic congestion along Woods Chapel Road as the project to revamp the thoroughfare continues. However, that congestion might be wrapped up sooner than many expect.
    Work on Woods Chapel Road begin in April 2012 and was one of the most anticipated projects of a 2008 voter-approved bond initiative. The original plan was for the project to be completed in three phases. However, to lessen the time traffic was congested, the project was consolidated into one phase. Now, with the project more than year ahead of schedule, another phase was added, from Briarwood/Castle Drive to Walnut Street.
    “We are dramatically ahead of schedule,” said interim public works director Chris Sandie. “We initially said it would be done in 2014.”
    This first phase of the Woods Chapel Road enhancements included new storm, sanitary sewer and water lines; a new signal at the Duncan Road intersection; reconfigured intersections at South Outer Road and Valley View Road; a new Jefferson Street intersection; a new commuter parking lot that opened in December and reconstruction of Northwest 36th Street.
    Currently, crews are working on completing the diverging diamond interchange, which will allow for increased traffic flow and less congestion, while not having to replace or widen the bridge over Interstate 70. In a diverging diamond concept, traffic passing through the interchange crosses over to the opposite side of the roadway between the interchange ramps. This allows traffic to move more efficiently to and from I-70. The crossover is controlled by the traffic signals. The concept has already been implemented at the Interstate-44 and Route 13 interchange in Springfield, Mo.
    “By September, the DDI (diverging diamond interchange) will be up and running,” Sandie said. “And those orange barrels, will hopefully, go away.”
    Sandie said in the next two to three weeks, traffic on Woods Chapel will switch from the west side to the east side to continue concrete replacement and other construction work.
    The second phase of the Woods Chapel improvements will include replacing the entire railroad crossing on Woods Chapel Road and softening the curve of the road as it goes into Lake Tapawingo. The Mill Drive intersection will also be moved to the north so that it lines up with the Lake Tapawingo entrance, and Dockside Drive will be raised to prevent flooding from the addition of a new box culvert.
    But one of the largest changes will be the construction of a roundabout at the Walnut Street-Woods Chapel Road intersection. This part of the project will begin sometime this summer.
    “The roundabout is a much needed improvement and will take care of the geometry currently at the intersection,” Sandie said. “The changes will make the roadway more safer and easier to negotiate.”
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